Add to this who point of context.
They (the publishers) are providing the substinence, while I (the enduser) am providing the capacity and storage (basically, the book ends and the binding and the paper, etc).
They want me to fork out HOW much?
This term comes to mind: Bite Me.
Rlauzon is quite correct, that financially speaking from the student's point of view, it's WAY more effective to still buy the hardcovers and resell what you don't want later on. The price, restrictions and overall hassle from these guys just aren't worth the effort.